Sitting on the living room couch next to his wife, Christine, Garry Welsh chokes up as he describes how much she means to him.
“I want her to have a happy and truly amazing life – and I want to make that happen,” said Garry, 49, of Windermere. “And I always feel that she wants the same for me too. It’s a two-way relationship.”
Garry and Christine have been married 24 years.
“Twenty five next year,” he said, adding, “I’ll work on something special for our anniversary. A new experience. I’ll push the envelope, and she’ll love it.”
For their 20th anniversary, Garry surprised Christine with a trip to Bora Bora, a small, lush island in the South Pacific.
While Garry takes charge of many of the vacation plans, the big decisions are always made together. Such as when they left a comfortable life in Britain seven years ago to start fresh in Orlando.
“As a team we talked it through together where we wanted to go,” said Garry, who has built a successful business as an adviser to underperforming companies. “We actually wrote down on a little piece of paper our wish list of the things we wanted to achieve. It felt like we were really reaching, but we found a way to make it happen.”
Both Christine, 53, and Garry have been married before. They have four adult children, including a son together.
But soon after they started dating it was clear that they had found love again.
“We knew in a very short time that we were going to get married,” Garry said.
The quality of our relationships with spouses, partners, family and friends directly affects our outlook. The more we nurture those relationships, the happier and healthier we feel. That’s one of the messages behind Florida Hospital’s Healthy 100.
Christine said Garry is never far from her thoughts, especially when he is away on business.
“I get my strength from him,” she said. “When he’s not around, I’m always thinking, ‘What would he think about what I’m doing?’”
“We get a lot of strength from each other, from the relationship.”
They needed that strength when Christine was diagnosed with lung cancer last year. The cancer was a shock, especially since Christine had never smoked.
“Suddenly we were having these conversations that nobody really wants to have,” Garry said. “That was a pretty tough time in terms of dealing with the uncertainty.”
Christine spent six nights undergoing tests at Florida Hospital before her surgery. Garry rarely left her side and slept each night in Christine’s room.
“Every night they would come in to do X-rays on her,” said Garry, a sound sleeper. “I would be lying in bed, and they would slap this lead blanket on me. I wouldn’t even move.”
Doctors were able to remove the cancer – along with a third of Christine’s right lung – but the scare has made the Welshes even more appreciative of their time together.
“We love hanging out with friends, but we also like to retreat into our private environment,” Garry said of the home they built in 2006. “We never take anything for granted and try to make the most out of every single day. Christine’s cancer re-enforced these values we’ve always lived by. We chill out together, plot new adventures and challenges. We learn, we laugh, we love.”
How do you show love to the important relationships in your life?
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